With the rise of deceptive tactics used by scammers, innocent consumers in Malaysia are increasingly falling victim to real estate scams. It is crucial for buyers and renters to exercise caution, particularly when searching for properties online, as these scams can result in financial loss. In this article, we will explore six common real estate scams in Malaysia to help you stay vigilant and avoid these traps.
- Fake Advertisement and Deposit Deception: Unscrupulous real estate agents often use deceptive tactics, such as false promises and misleading information, to attract potential buyers or tenants. They may even present retouched photos of properties to conceal any damages. Some agents go as far as orchestrating fake property inspections with a group of “actors” to create the illusion of high demand, prompting consumers to pay deposits quickly. However, once the deposit is paid, these agents often refuse refund requests.
- Ultra-Low Price Deception: During the pandemic and movement control order, scammers take advantage of homeowners looking to sell properties at lower prices and developers offering attractive promotions. They advertise non-existent super-cheap houses and irresistible purchase discounts, prompting unsuspecting consumers to deposit funds into their accounts before disappearing.
- Concealing Real Prices for Profits: Certain real estate agents mislead buyers into purchasing properties at unreasonably high prices, aiming to maximize their own profits. This fraud is prevalent in land transactions, where scammers pass off cheaper agricultural land as higher-priced commercial land by manipulating land deeds or tampering with information.
- “Buy 2 First, Then Sell 1” Scam: Scammers exaggerate the investment potential of an area or project, convincing buyers to purchase two units simultaneously with the promise of high returns. They claim that buyers can sell one unit at a premium price after project completion, allowing them to acquire the second unit at a significantly lower cost. However, once the project is finished, these scammers disappear, leaving buyers burdened with loans and unable to sell the units as expected.
- False Claims of Connections for Buying or Loan Assistance: Fraud syndicates impersonate real estate agents, bank personnel, or legitimate lending companies to deceive consumers. They may falsely claim to have “connections” to affordable government housing or offer assistance with loan-related issues. Victims are coerced into paying expensive “handling fees” to resolve problems that never existed.
- Impersonating Owners for Rent or Sale: Scammers pose as property owners during rental or sale transactions, duping innocent consumers and absconding with their deposits. They often steal photos from platforms like Airbnb and advertise properties on other platforms. When prospective tenants or buyers visit the property, the scammer, pretending to be the landlord, collects deposits and vanishes.
Conclusion: To protect yourself from real estate scams in Malaysia, it is essential to remain vigilant and skeptical. Verify the authenticity of advertisements and agents, thoroughly inspect properties, and exercise caution while making payments or deposits. By staying informed and adopting a cautious approach, you can avoid falling victim to these common scams and ensure a secure real estate transaction.